The Harry Potter franchise came back in a big way late last year with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a movie which is...pretty okay! It's not quite the smash hit it clearly wanted to be, but there's plenty to like and dislike about the prequel. To prove that being associated with Harry Potter doesn't make you invincible, here's ScreenJunkies' latest Honest Trailer, this time turning its sights on the fantasy prequel film. They make a lot of valid points, so check it out below.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is the start of a five-part prequel series set in the world of Harry Potter and as this Honest Trailer is quick to point out, it's not really off to a great start. The video makes numerous criticisms about why the film falls short, starting with a cast that doesn't quite reach the level of Harry, Ron and Hermione, who probably won't be stopping by anytime soon; Emma Watson is too busy winning our hearts as a different brainy and independent woman in Beauty and the Beast, Daniel Radcliffe is literally "farting around," (in Swiss Army Man, a great movie, by the way) and Rupert Grint is...somewhere. The Fantastic Beasts squad of Newt, Tina, Queenie and Kowalski doesn't hit the level of that iconic trio, but those are some big shoes to fill (and lets not even get started on Johnny Depp).
The Honest Trailer also points that that despite being a part of a glamorous magical world, wizarding life in 1920s New York is still just as depressing as in real-life. They've got fear, racism, and a WEIRD penalty, which doesn't make for the most inviting entry into a new franchise. True, all the wonder in Harry Potter turned dark when the kids got older, but there were still plenty of bright spots to filter out the darker ones.
You also can't talk about a movie called Fantastic Beasts without bringing up the fantastic beasts. Despite Newt's constant insistence that there's nothing dangerous about his creatures, their actions don't really reflect that. As the Honest Trailer brilliantly illustrates, practically all of Newt's creatures cause chaos, intentional or not. One of them can cause fire to shoot out your anus and one notable glowing rhino gets its own set of complications during mating season. Hell, Newt carries one that eats brains around in his coat pocket!
With all this rightful criticism, let's take a moment to talk about what's good in the film. The beasts are very imaginative, with several of them standing out in different sequences. Anything with Kowalski (Dan Fogler) is basically great, as his new fascination with the Wizarding World serves most of the genuine laughs. The scenes where he and Newt bond while chasing magical creatures are also fun to watch, though they don't really fit into the grander scheme of the movie.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them isn't a great film, but there's always the chance that its sequel learns from its mistakes. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2 is currently scheduled to hit theaters on November 16, 2018.